Scientists Discover How Cannabis and Hemp Differ

Scientists Discover How Cannabis and Hemp Differ

Scientists have long wondered why hemp cannabinoids differ in quantity from cannabis plants, but these plants are genetically similar. The research was carried out to generate a cannabis sativa chromosome map, and the findings shed light on this critical issue.

The study revealed that the composition of THC and CBD in hemp and cannabis was primarily the product of mutations resulting from viruses entering the cannabis plant chromosomes millions of years ago.

As a result of this genetic invasion of the virus, cannabis was divided into two distinct variations, namely hemp and cannabis. Hemp contains mostly CBD, whereas cannabis has varying amounts of CBD and THC, but cannabis has significantly higher levels of THC than hemp.

At the genetic level, the enzymes that triggered the production of the different levels of CBD and THC in these two plants look identical but differ in genetic expression. As a result, one gene can be extracted and left by growing a plant with only one of the most essential cannabinoids. For example, the THC gene can be removed so that CBD - only plants can be produced and the same can be done for the cannabis CBD gene.

The scientists believed that human selection was partly responsible for the widespread prevalence of cannabis strains since people have been known from ancient times to propagate plants that produced the desired results. Accordingly, varieties with balanced CBD and THC may have been ignored and left to disappear from the genetic pool, while those with high THC have been kept as our ancestors enjoyed the "high" derived from these variants. Hemp survived this first selection because it had other uses, such as thick fibre rope.

What shows the current crop of scientists with this research? Cannabis is still so little known. This gap in information may not necessarily be the fault of the scientific community, but it can be attributed to decades of prohibition, which made it almost impossible to achieve any meaning.